Boeing presented the aircraft to a crowd of more than 750 U.S. Navy customers, industry partners and Boeing employees during a ceremony at its Integrated Defense Systems facilities in St. Louis. U.S. Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen, Chief of Naval Operations and guest speaker at the ceremony, said, "The Growler is a model of what a strong strategic relationship between the Navy and industry can do. It represents acquisition excellence at its finest. This program has saved billions of dollars with an innovative approach.
"It is clear that the demand for electronic warfare is not only going to remain high, but is going to grow," the admiral said during his remarks. "The Growler was designed and built to answer that call. Its speed, range and robust self-defense systems will serve as force multipliers for naval aviation and greatly strengthen the entire joint force."
A derivative of the combat-proven, two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet, the EA- 18G's highly flexible design enables warfighters to perform an array of airborne electronic attack (AEA) missions, operating from either the deck of an aircraft carrier or land-based fields. The EA-18G integrates the capabilities of the most advanced AEA system, designed and produced by the Northrop Grumman Corporation, which recently completed tests on the EA-6B, with the advanced weapons, sensors and communications systems found on the Super Hornet.
The U.S. Navy selected the EA-18G to replace the current AEA platform, the EA-6B Prowler, which has been in service since 1971. Boeing received the EA- 18G Systems Development and Demonstration phase contract on Dec. 29, 2003. The aircraft's first flight is planned for later this month, several weeks ahead of the originally scheduled date. EA-18G flight testing will take place at the Navy's Patuxent River, Md. and China Lake, Calif., test sites through 2008.
"Today's events are a tribute to the unparalleled excellence of the Hornet Industry Team, which has continually shown the nation that developmental programs can meet or exceed customer's expectations," said Chris Chadwick, vice president and general manager of Boeing Global Strike Systems. "We stand here today as a testament to innovation and excellence in every aspect of procurement, from the person who first came up with the concept, to the person who turned the last wrench to bring this amazing aircraft to us today."
The Growler will join the Navy's aircraft fleet in 2009. Capt. Donald "BD" Gaddis, F/A-18 program manager for the U.S. Navy, praised the development program, saying, "We're providing the warfighters of today something they can't even imagine. We're going to deliver a product that is truly going to transform the way we fight."
Boeing, acting as the weapon system integrator and prime contractor, leads the EA-18G Growler industry team. Northrop Grumman is the principal subcontractor and airborne electronic attack subsystem integrator. The Hornet Industry Team will divide EA-18G production across Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Electric and Raytheon manufacturing facilities. The System Design, Development and Demonstration program concludes with an Initial Operational Capability in 2009. Naval Air Systems Command PMA-265 is the U.S. Navy acquisition office for the EA-18G.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $30.8 billion business. It provides network-centric system solutions to its global military, government and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer; a foremost developer of advanced concepts and technologies; a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in sustainment solutions and launch services.
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